Seven months of a re-vamped FAO AGRIS service: what’s next?

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One of the major things that happened in Agroknow last year, was the introduction of a brand new service for supporting the data processing workflows of FAO’s AGRIS. Following a strategic partnership that was introduced in September 2014 by the teams of FAO, Agroknow and CAAS working together on the first version of AGINFRA, our team took over the AGRIS Data Processing workflow: this practically means being responsible for all tasks related to the communication with the institutions that wish to make their information discoverable through AGRIS.

In May 2015, we announced the launch of a new online platform that would replace the way that communication and request handling took place by that time: the so-called AKstem service.… Click to read the full post

Agroknow History 101 (and Happy New Year!)

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Last night the Ghost of Christmas Past visited me in my sleep, and took me for a trip back to the very early years  of this company – to 2007 when the idea for setting it up was born. I was still working on my PhD on agricultural information management, and οne evening Kostas came by our house for a social visit. The idea hit us while we were sitting in a small room at the back of my house – full of books, CDs, dirty laundry and baby toys. We saw the potential in what I was doing in my PhD: why not start a company to deliver this promise?… Click to read the full post

We Change

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Τhe time has come. Not any more do we need to split our name in two, so that people may understand that we do agriculture+knowledge. All around the world, more and more find out about the small but mighty Greek superhero team that is doing magic with agricultural information. And they should know us by name: Agroknow. A single word that glues together agriculture with knowledge. A simple change in our name that conveys a powerful message.

We are Agroknow, the company that does the magic to seamlessly connect agriculture with knowledge. The company that is among the leaders of the global movement of open data for agriculture and nutrition.… Click to read the full post

An Open Science Cloud for Europe’s agri-food research skies

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During these strange, troubling times, Europe seems to be trying to make some steps towards closer collaboration and integration. The strategy for creating a Digital Single Market is one of these desired steps that will try to bring together the 28 member states at the online space. And as far European research is concerned, a major decision has been taken during the past few weeks by some of the key stakeholders that drive the digital science (or eScience) agenda: to join forces and create a so-called European Open Science Cloud for Research.

Five leading Europan initiatives (EUDATLIBEROpenAIREEGI and GEANT) that are working on different parts of e-infrastructures to facilitate research, have published a position paper that describes their joint vision on empowering research data sharing, data stewardship and data reuse in Europe for the benefit of innovation and growth.… Click to read the full post

The Stevia Hellas cooperative & Agro-Know

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The Stevia Hellas Coop is a cooperative of farmers in the region of Fthiotida, based in the town of Lamia (Greece). It is bringing together farmers that are cultivating Stevia as a plant that forms the basis for natural sweetener products that can substitute sugar. Their first product is called La Mia Stevia and is at the final stages of packaging and pilot distribution.

Stevia grid

Agro-Know is working closely farmer cooperatives (like Stevia Hellas Coop and the Danish Agricultural Advisory Service – DAAS) in facilitating access of the farmers to information that they need. For Stevia Hellas Coop, we will investigate how our online service AKstem.com can enhance the Stevia Hellas Coop web site with a micro-site that will offer to farmers a customisable and dynamic view over scientific and market information that are of relevance to stevia (at any stage of its planting, harvesting, processing, packaging and marketing) from credible sources around the world.… Click to read the full post

“I do big data for the food & beverage industry” – OK, but for which problem?

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I was reading through the 2013 report on “Formula for growth: Innovation, big data and analytics” that the US Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and Deloitte Consulting L.L.P. produced. This is a very interesting report, since it outlines the opportunities big data offers to food and beverage manufacturers, bringing the industry perspective to the big data discussion. The report also discusses how data mining technologies are starting to transform the consumer packaged goods marketplace, and outlines what companies may do to use the technologies to improve performance.

A GMA video summarizing the report findings (find it here: http://www.gmaonline.org/issues-policy/collaborating-with-retailers/big-data-analytics/welcome)

A very interesting Deloitte video with Prof. Tom Davenport summarises the report findings

There are a couple of recommendations in the report that rang a bell:

  • Business context is required to operationalize big data, analytics, and innovation
  • The majority of the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is lagging in data and analytical capabilities
  • Rapid-fire pace of innovation requires data & analytics competency

Yes, I agree that context is king.… Click to read the full post

Food Safety Information Leaders Come Together

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At the District of Columbia (D.C.) lies the capital of the United States of America, the beautiful Washington D.C. And it is there, at the World Bank Group headquarters, where a number of great minds will meet on October 14th, to decide on the next steps for developing an information sharing infrastructure that can help the world scale up food safety capacity building activities.

At the World Bank headquarters, in a glorious and impressive building.

At the World Bank headquarters, in a glorious and impressive building.

As part of the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP), the international public-private network that the World Bank facilitates, the Knowledge & Learning Systems Working Group (WG) will come together once more to plan ahead on the way that the various components and services of this information infrastructure should be implemented.… Click to read the full post

“It’s the variety, stupid”

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Well, I should have suspected it. But it was good to see more than 40 experts from around the world highlighting and explaining it: the special thing about big data in agriculture is its extreme variety.

This is what you get, if you contrast the four (as IBM suggests) V’s of big data to the data types and sources that are typically used in agricultural, food and environmental research. We are not talking about an extremely large Volume; other domains have much more voluminous data. It is not that they come with a high Velocity, especially compared to other domains.… Click to read the full post

Big data in Europe calls on Agro-Know

paris

We have been following Big Data Europe since its early stages, learning about the recent advances and trends in big data by prestigious partners like Fraunhofer (yes, the guys that invented MP3). We got more and more involved in this flagship big data initiative for Europe, sharing our understanding of data-related challenges in the agri-food sector, what kind of big data our communities work with, and how cutting edge solutions using big data analytics may be developed to serve their needs.

This is the time to take an important step forward: and beautiful Paris is the place where this will happen.… Click to read the full post

Fighting hunger with big data: doing it the CGIAR way

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Get ready for some serious numbers – by 2030, the CGIAR wants its action to result in 150 million fewer hungry people, 100 million fewer poor people – at least 50% of whom are women, and 190 million ha less degraded land. They have mobilised a tremendous amount of money from their donors to achieve it. And they are now designing the way in which they will make it happen.

Taking a closer look to their recently published progress of work, I was intrigued by two things:

  • They follow a truly transparent process, since they have published quite elaborate and detailed pre-proposals that are still under evaluation.
Click to read the full post